Midnight
No Mercy for Mayhem

Bondage babes, leather, chains, beer, sleaze and hellraising riffs are just some of the things that spring to mind when jamming the sophomore full-length from retro metal fiends, MidnightNo Mercy for Mayhem might channel very similar territory to its much praised predecessor, Satanic Royalty, but it does so with such infectious energy and skin ripping hooks that the band can easily be forgiven for their retro-minded delivery and largely derivative formula. Built from the ground up in old school DIY style by multi-talented band leader Athenar, Midnight honed their songwriting chops and gradually scaffolded a sturdy underground fanbase through relentless touring and a steady stream of EPs, splits and compilation appearances. However, it wasn’t until they dropped Satanic Royalty in 2011 that the band really came to the attention of the larger metal community.  And for good reason, as the album injected a dose of vitality into a formula derived from the punky roots of the first wave of black metal and fused with the raw rock ‘n’ roll energy of Motorhead.

Basically No mercy for Mayhem adds a touch more refinement and rocking sleaze to the equation, otherwise it’s more of the same, serving as a worthy follow-up to the debut.  After an unnecessary introduction, Midnight storm out of the gates with the punk-fuelled thrashy gallop of “Evil Like a Knife”, which makes a strong statement from the outset with its simple catchy chorus and blazing riffs. Athenar’s riffs are reliably top notch, regardless of the tempo Midnight are operating at (mostly of the fast and furious variety).  His ripping solos, melodic flourishes and well stocked supply of thrashing old school metal riffs embellish the straightforward structures and simple but effective vocal hooks and choruses littered throughout the album.  Speaking of which, his decipherable rasp has plenty of character and amped up energy that incites sing-a-long action on tracks such as the rollicking ‘Try Suicide”, frenetic energy of “The Final Rape of Night’ and the rabid hooks of “Degradation”.  Meanwhile, the more controlled pacing on “Woman of Flame” shows a pleasantly restrained but still compelling facet of Midnight’s songwriting.

Despite an ample supply of banging tunes and catchy hook laden metal anthems, No Mercy for Mayhem can’t quite match the consistency or songwriting high points of Satanic Royalty. And although it’s only a mere six minutes longer, the album isn’t as perfectly concise or punchy as its predecessor, with a couple of weaker tracks cropping-up. Another minor drawback is with the production. Satanic Royalty had a sharp and crunchy live-in-the-studio sounding vibrancy that provided plenty of clarity and definition to the instruments without dulling the rough unrefined edges to the band’s music. In short, it was a near perfect sound for the band. No Mercy for Mayhem is a perfectly adequate recording, but its extra polish and tamer guitar tone takes away some of the raw spirit of Midnight’s raucous music.

There’s no shame coming in second best following a barnstorming debut. No Mercy for Mayhem is still very much a quality album containing all the stylistic elements and irresistible hooks that attracted metalheads to the band in the first place.  And despite falling short of their excellent debut, Midnight’s sophomore outing should have fans clambering back for more of the same addictive, thrashing fun.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
October 9th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: Dan

    Loved ‘Satanic Royalty.’ Probably listened to it every day for about three months. Then one day it just dropped off my radar and never came back. As such, I’ve had no desire to check this out. SR was a pleasant surprise; expertly constructed and executed. But now the novelty is sorta gone. That said, I will absolutely go see them live anytime.


  2. Commented by: Jay

    I really dug this one. Thought it sounded closer to the very early stuff which is still pretty much some of my favorite stuff from the last ten years, and was even more into it than SR.

    Still though, you’re right Dan, these guys are worth going to see live ANYTIME. I drove 2-3 hours to see them before with Argus, and they made the road trip worth every second.


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